Q: We milled second growth Douglas fir in 2016. We are sorting through the pile of full dimension 1×6, to send 2000 away for kiln drying, planing, and t&g’ing for flooring. It is not all edge grain, but a mix of edge and face. We’re wondering about a finish.
We have used Saicos on another floor at one time which worked out okay on the oak tiles. The raw fir with a coat of Osmo (what we had on hand, an example of a hard wax penetrating finish?), that I use on some crafts, does nothing to “tone down” the brightness of the wood. It seems not to suit the rooms with pine ceilings.
Would it be doable to apply a light stain first, then topcoat with a different protective finish? And what would your recommendation be for a top coat? We live in a rural setting and the floor will get lots of traffic, including kids and dogs. So I guess ease of repair and maintenance are factors.
A: Douglas Fir is very good to work with as far as sanding, staining and finishing. You ask a hard question because there isn’t a finish I am aware of which is the best for every situation. Urethane/varnish top coats provide good protection against water and general traffic but are difficult to touch up without leaving what looks like a patch. Wax and oil offer a bit of protection but not compared to polyurethane. Wax will water spots when the dog drools on the floor.
The best oil finish I’ve ever used is Waterlox. Not like usual oils that are applied and then the excess removed with a rag shortly after, Waterlox is applied with a lambs wool applicator and brush and you walk away and let it soak and dry. Several coats and you are done. You may only need to buff once after the first coat to smooth off any nibs or grain raise and roughness. There is no need to buff or scratch the coat to gain adhesion with another coat. It co-adheres. This makes it easy to touch up when it starts taking a beating. That is likely what I would use if I was applying an oil type coating.
For polyurethane I’ve had great success with Poloplaz Primero. It is a snap to apply with a roller.